Monday, March 27, 2023

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Mobilizing Georgia voters in a non-election year is crucial for voting rights groups, Philadelphians over 50 will play a major role in the mayoral primary, and the EPA is finalizing a new air quality rule.

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Michigan becomes the first state in decades to repeal a "right to work" law, death penalty opponents say President Biden is not keeping campaign promises to halt federal executions, and more states move to weaken child labor protection laws.

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Finding childcare is a struggle everywhere, prompting North Carolina's Transylvania County to try a new approach. Maine is slowly building-out broadband access, but disagreements remain over whether local versus national companies should get the contracts, and specialty apps like "Farmers Dating" help those in small communities connect online.

KY Foster Kids Say They Want Stability and Better Care

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Thursday, December 8, 2022   

According to a new report, a significant number of the state's youths are institutionalized, not because of a need for intensive supervision but because kinship or foster families are not available.

The pandemic pushed Kentucky's child welfare agencies and workforce to its limits, and after the recent deaths of children in the state's residential facilities, advocates are calling for reforms. In 2020, more than 8,000 children in the Commonwealth were placed in foster care.

Tamara Vest, a University of Kentucky graduate student and intern for Kentucky Youth Advocates, said prevention is the best strategy.

"Catching things upstream so that you don't have to remove children from their homes, but you're able to help families get the resources that they need so that separation doesn't occur," Vest explained.

Roughly 10% of Kentucky's foster care kids live in a group home or institution.

Elutan Dawson, a youth development specialist and former foster youth, said it is critical for young people to spend time with volunteers and mentors, to strengthen their network of support, help them gain skills and teach them life lessons.

"Mentorship and just the opportunities to engage with volunteers were very helpful for me," Dawson recounted. "I've been able to learn some skills, went hiking and Boy Scouts when I was in residential, and I learned how to camp. I can go camp now."

Cynthia Scheppers, peer coach coordinator for Kentucky Youth Advocates, said communities have a collective responsibility to support youths without kinship ties, especially during the holiday season.

"Whether that be in the form of getting presents or opening your home for the youths for the holidays," Scheppers suggested.

The state's network of social workers plays a critical role in ensuring foster youths have opportunities to forge healthy relationships. According to the report, the pandemic worsened staffing issues, and retaining direct-care workers in residential facilities is an ongoing challenge.

Disclosure: Kentucky Youth Advocates/Kids Count contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy and Priorities, and Children's Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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